Preparation Checklist


9th Grade
  • Think about career opportunities. Which subjects interest or motivate you to succeed?
  • Meet with a counselor to create a four-year plan that will guide you in taking the right courses in your field of interest and also fulfill the requirements of the college you want to pursue.
  • Earn good grades. Your grades will play a big part in which college you can get into and the scholarships you can earn.
  • Get involved in community work or other kinds of volunteering in your field of interest. Not only is it good for others, it’s good for you – and, it will look great on your college application.
  • Save money now to pay for school later.
  • Apply for a social security number, if you do not already have one.
10th grade
  • Think about finding the right college for you. Look at schools offering programs in your field of study or satisfy your person needs (i.e. Hawaii vs. mainland schools).
  • Prepare for the Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT) by taking the PSAT. While community colleges do not require the SAT, it’s still a good idea to take the test to keep your options open.
  • Keep your grades up. Strive to get into Advanced Placement (AP) or Running Start classes to earn college credit.
  • Begin researching financial aid options. Find out what you need to be able to apply for scholarships.
11th grade
  • Research colleges in more depth. Call, write or email each school for more information (i.e. admission requirements, degrees offered, cost of attendance and campus life.) Attend a college fair.
  • Make a list of important deadlines for college admission and financial aid applications.
  • Take college admissions tests such as the ACT and the SAT.
  • Visit several of your top college choices to get a feel for which school is right for you. If you can’t visit in person, find out if the college has a virtual tour online.
12th grade
  • Keep track of all your deadlines for applications, tests, and financial aid.
  • Ask teachers, employers, clergy or other significant adults for letters of recommendation you may need.
  • Narrow your college choices to the three or four you like best and keep track of your findings.
  • If you are not satisfied with your SAT and ACT scores, retake them. If you attending a community college, you’ll have to take the COMPASS Placements Tests in Reading, Writing and Math.
  • Apply for admission to your top three of four college choices.
  • With your family’s help, complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid and file it as soon as you can after January 1st. Consider all options for paying for school.
  • Keep photocopies of everything you send out.
  • Respond promptly to any requests for any additional information from colleges or financial aid offices.
  • Evaluate financial aid offers carefully.
  • Decide which college you’ll attend and send in any forms or deposits by the deadline. Some colleges will require you to get health clearances.
  • Sign and return your college’s financial aid offer, nothing the parts you accept and those you decline.
  • If other schools have accepted you, notify them you won’t be attending.
  • Send your final grade transcript to your college.